Po­lice of­fer 5 safe zones for in­ter­net sales

Sub­sta­tions in­stall cam­eras; Day­ton also has lo­ca­tions.

Dayton Daily News - - LOCAL & STATE - By Rick Rouan

Cen­tral Ohioans COLUM­BUS — who sell old iPhones, video games and other items on the In­ter­net now have a safer haven to make the ex­change.

Colum­bus has set up “in­ter­net ex­change zones” out­side five po­lice sub­sta­tions around the city. The city’s Depart­ment of Pub­lic Safety posted signs and in­stalled cam­eras to mon­i­tor the zones this year.

“The po­lice have al­ways put out in­for­ma­tion that if you’re go­ing to con­duct that type of trans­ac­tion, do it in a pub­lic place where other peo­ple can wit­ness it and you feel safe,” said Cathy Collins, as­sis­tant di­rec­tor in the Depart­ment of Pub­lic Safety. “This is the first ac­tual pro­gram by the city to pro­vide a safe space.”

Po­lice agen­cies in south­west Ohio have been op­er­at­ing safe ex­change zones with four Day­ton po­lice sta­tions since 2015, and also at the West Car­roll­ton po­lice head­quar­ters and at the But­ler County Sher­iff ’s Of­fice.

Of­fi­cers are not sta­tioned at the sub­sta­tions at all times, but Collins said it’s more likely that peo­ple mak­ing ex­changes there would see an of­fi­cer or a po­lice cruiser than if they were meet­ing else­where.

The cam­eras are al­ways on, though, and will be trained on the area near the sign. Collins said the city is rec­om­mend­ing peo­ple who use the zones make the ex­change close to the sign be­cause it will be well-lit and in the line of sight for the cam­era.

The depart­ment de­cided to in­stall the cam­eras and cre­ate the ex­change zones in re­sponse to an uptick in rob­beries in­volv­ing In­ter­net pur­chases, she said.

Collins said it was the first time that the city had con­sid­ered set­ting up ar­eas where peo­ple could make ex­changes.

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